Thursday, February 26, 2009

An open letter to my cellulite

Dear Cellulite,

You, yes you. You were not invited here, I wish you would leave. As the weather is warming up I tried to take you out for a long walk and lose you. Yet, you followed me the and found your way home. When you trail me you don’t even do so quietly. You draw attention to yourself by sticking out from under my coat, shirt, and panty lines screaming things about pasta and bread to all passersby. You are a freeloader. You cling on despite the many ways I have tried to make you go away. There was yoga, ellipticals, hand weights and Wii fit. Still, you clung on.

You, cellulite, are also being territorial and not making room for muscle. When I exercise I have to wear long pants and shirts because of you. It is hard to build muscle when I am about to pass out from overheating. If you were not there I could work out in skimpy, little items that would be more conducive to exercise and welcoming muscle on my body. I imagine this is your goal. I find your actions selfish and self serving.

I have tried to compromise. When I get hungry late at night I did not starve you. I instead ate chick peas or a nice piece of fruit. Gone are the days of an entire jar of peanut butter and awaking to find my whole kitchen empty. Yet, there you are. I have moved from my once comfy jeans and slinky sleeveless tops to an almost entirely knit wardrobe to accommodate your expansive needs and you insist on being the center of attention in those too. How much more can I give? You cellulite are just too needy. This is your eviction letter in writing. Please find a new home, your freeloading days are over here. I will forward to you a list of ex-coworkers and former classmates that I feel would be a good match for you to take up residence.

Your current landlord

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Trying to get the hang of blogging and fatigue

So, obviously I am new to this blogging thing. I am trying to get the hang of it and be interesting all at the same time.
It's been a while since I posted though thanks to Lupus. I love the days where I forget I have it but hate the revenge my body gives me after.

I have a whole bunch of projects I want to post and when I sit down to edit the pictures I fall asleep. Not even a restful sleep, more of the hard, paralyzed from exhaustion kind.

I am also very frustrated with my health insurance. I had to switch to a different plan with the same company for 2009. My dr wanted to try a new medication that would help with my fatigue..I even met the criteria. Will they pay for it? Nope. After a long cry I started the appeals process. I have to admit, even after years of having Lupus I still think every new medication will cure me. Or at least I hope for a while. The idea that there is one out there that I can't get access to infuriates me. Especially knowing I pay nearly $700 per month for coverage.

As soon as I can get those pictures up I have new projects. I made an Ispy style book for my friend's son and would love to see how it inspires other crafters. I also have some more scavenger hunts to post for Easter and rainy day inspiration.
And of course more kid's outerwear!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Introducing Daedal Dragons by Menacing Pickle

The first of our brand new line Daedal Dragons is available on Etsy.
It is fully reversible, machine washable and dryable.

100% cotton it features a dragon pattern paned with Japanese Kanji lettering overlay.

Contrasting side is unpaned dragons.

This jacket can be made in any children's size NB-6 With a small price increase for sizes over 6.
As you wash this jacket the layering becomes more pronounced from the paning developing a more pronounced look.

Visit Daedal Dragons in our etsy store

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Great Alphabet Hunt

The great alphabet hunt

Needed: index cards and a pen

Write a letter of the alphabet on each card so you will have 26 cards, each with 1 letter.

With your child come up with an item in your house for each letter. If you can’t think of an item starting with that letter how about a color item the letter starts with. If you have multiple children use colored cards and assign each a color with different words or have them work as a team.

These were the items we came up with, just as an example. It required sounding out each letter with the 4 year old I played this with. He did come up with most of the words on his own by wandering around the house and sounding out each object he saw. After playing the game he marveled at some of the new words he learned (when he came to plates I pointed out they were also called dishes)

A apple
B Bananas
C cat
D Dishes
E entryway
F Flowers
G Green chair
H Hat (coat closet hook)
I Ice Cream
J Joker (from Batman, of course)
K We drew a picture of a kangaroo together and counted this as a freebee
L lamp
M Mat (welcome mat)
N Noodles
O Orange Juice
P Peanut butter
Q Quack (duck toy)
R Refrigerator
S Sponge
T telephone
U Underwear (underwear drawer, or trickier laundry room)
V videogames
W water
X (we found an item shaped like an x, train tracks)
Y yellow flowers on table
Z Zebra toy in toy box

I wrote each object as we came up with them on the back of the card. After we completed the alphabet he closed his eyes for the duration of a song playing (an egg timer could work too) while I went and distributed cards.

I put each card in easy eye access like sticking out from under the peanut butter jar. Laying on the dishes, etc.

This way kids don’t total the house while they run around looking for them. In the end it requires them to know the alphabet in order, recall the items they come up with, and know where they are situated in the house. An added bonus is the opportunity to increase their vocabulary by introducing new things that they see every day. If he couldn’t remember I gave hints like “it grows on a tree. You drink it every day for breakfast.” We also played “hot” and “cold” with this to prompt his memory.
In the end it was a blast running around the house to find all the cards, looking in the fridge and other fun places.

In a future post we use methods learned during this game to encourage kids to put away laundry and other age appropriate tasks around the house.

The sweetest of softies, Ai-Li by Gocks Frocks

Ai-Li by Gocks Frocks

I saw this doll while perusing Etsy. I have to say, I am in love with her.
Her name means lovely and she really is!
I am so tempted to order her for myself and put her on display.
She comes accompanied by a closet of accessories; hat, tutu, wrap, skirt, bag and doll.

What fun for every girl (even us grown up ones) to have.
I am picturing what goodies Ai-Li would carry in her little bag...maybe a some fresh picked flowers or fruit she found while out on a stroll.

Although Ai-Li's creation was inspired by wonderful stories of children adopted from China her look is broad enough to be suitable for a number of musings. Her Springtime colors reminded me of the magnificent cherry blossoms soon to emerge in our nation's capital.

She would make a splendid centerpiece with cherry blossoms popping from her bag. With the Cherry Blossom Festival arriving (March 28-April 12) what a wonderful tribute to the fantastic gift Tokyo made to Washington, DC with their beautiful trees.

I am sure she will inspire hours of imaginative play to whoever offers her a new home.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Help!! How do I fix this stain??

When I worked in costumes a stain was a nightmare. It could end production. Often, costumes were one-of-a-kind or not sized to be swapped to another performer so we had to be creative when it came to fixing stains. I wasn't allowed to inflict bodily harm on actors that ate and drank in their costumes, so I needed to know how to fix it without keeping a ton of chemicals on hand. Here are some of those tips that use common household items.

  • Kool Aid, food coloring and similar stains on carpet

Needed: light colored towels, steam iron.

saturate the towels with clean water. Fill the steam iron with water. Place wet towels over Kool Aid stain and then place hot iron on steam setting over towel on top of stain. The stain will pull through into the towel. Keep moving to fresh part of towel or new towel so you don’t re-transfer the Kool Aid dye. Huge or old stains could take many towels. But it does pull the stain out without needing bleach or other caustic chemicals on any color carpet. When you are done toss the towels in the washing machine with bleach.

  • Crayon or wax on carpet

Needed: iron, paper grocery bags.

Heat iron to hottest setting. place paper bag (without any picture or dye that could transfer) on top of stain. Put hot iron over stain and watch the wax pull through the paper. Move around to clean spots of paper to get the whole stain.

  • Gum stain

Needed: ice cubes, maybe plastic bag.

On most surfaces you can freeze off gum. If the item is small enough (like a shoe) put it in the freezer. When the gum freezes you can snap it off. If it’s a big item like furniture or floor put your ice in a plastic bag and apply until it freezes. Then chip off in pieces.

  • Gum in hair

needed: peanut butter.

The oil in the peanut butter will release the gum. If none is available use mayo or cooking oil. Then wash your hair to get rid of the residue. Don’t use this method on material items because it will leave an oil stain.

  • Grease stain

needed: baby powder (talcum powder) or corn starch.

pour liberal amounts of powder onto stain. It will absorb the oil. Continue to brush, shake or vacuum off excess powder and reapplying until stain is gone.
This will work on clothing, furniture and carpeting. Especially helpful for dry clean only items.

If you are in a restaurant and don’t have these items available use those packets of artificial sweetener.

  • Ink stain

needed; rubbing alcohol and clean cloth

Rubbing alcohol will dilute a stain until it is nearly if not completely gone. great for clothing. Test to make sure the item is colorfast. I usually stretch the item out over a cup or bowl so just the stained area is exposed. Then pour the alcohol right over the stain so it passes through. That works better than rubbing so you aren’t rubbing the stain in.

  • Red Wine stain

needed: salt.

When a glass of red wine gets knocked over you can’t help but panic. Grab the salt shaker! Pour it right on and let it absorb the stain. Then vacuum up the salt. Club soda will often do the trick after the salt removal.

  • Fresh Berry or Jam stain

needed: boiling water, bowl garment can be stretched over

Take the stained shirt and stretch it over the rim of a bowl. Then take boiling water (right from tea kettle is fine) and pour it over stain. It should disappear right before your eyes. Water has t be really hot for this to work, not luke warm tap water.

  • Blood stain

needed: blood donor’s saliva

Um, how much blood we talking here? Should you be calling 9-1-1? If it’s a small spot like you pricked your finger while sewing use your saliva. Yes, your saliva. It has to be your blood though. Components in your own saliva break down the blood so it will dissolve out of the garment. Dab with saliva and your clean finger until stain fades. This method has been used by quilters for generations. I can’t be held responsible for attraction of vampires to the garment.

  • Freshen up a musty/stinky item without a wash
There weren't fabric refreshers like Febreeze until recently. But the stinky actor/child/spouse has long existed. What have we used all those years? Vodka! The cheap stuff. The cheapest brand will do. This has been used forever in theater to remove the smell of smoke and body odor from costumes that can't be cleaned.

Put the vodka in a spray bottle. Saturate the item so it is damp but not soaking wet. Let it air dry. The smell should disappear when it is dry.

Save the expensive Vodka for yourself after a long day of cleaning up after your family. After enough repeat application the cause of the stains in your home will disappear, although temporarily. However, a headache often appears in it's place.

An introduction to menacing pickle

A menacing pickle is something silly. Something carefree. Something imaginative and creative. Something that never fails to make me giggle and reminds me that no matter where I am and no matter what I’m doing, there’s always room to step back and just have fun. Something that gives me a unique perspective. Something that reminds me that just even though the most direct way from point A to point B is a straight line, going that way is just not enough fun.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that among my favorite foods, the pickle almost always ranks near the top, along with olives, sushi, and artichoke dip.

Everyone has an inner menacing pickle. And setting mine free was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. You can see the results all around you!

And now, the (brief) story of me.

Once upon a time, there was a costume designer. She did lots of neat, fancy outfits for a variety of theater and film productions, but always secretly wondered why all the cool fabrics and silly patterns she encountered on a daily basis weren’t being used in a way that everyone could appreciate, especially children. But she continued to create her costumes in the kingdom, dreaming of something bigger, better, and a lot more fun.

There just so happened to be a terrible curse upon the children of the kingdom, one that required that all kids, no matter how silly and full of giggles, must wear jackets that were drab. Jackets that were plain. Jackets that were boring. Jackets that just had no personality. And the children were sad.

Then one day, the costume designer realized that she had all sorts of neat-o fabrics stored up, and no grown-up outfits left to create. She turned to one sad little girl and said “Young child, if you could have a jacket, any jacket at all, what kind of jacket would it be?”

And the little girl’s eyes lit up, shining brighter than the sun! Before she could answer, another child appeared, and another, and another, and even more! They all told the costume designer about their wants and dreams, who began to work immediately on a new line of clothing, one inspired by children, for children.

“I want kitties on my jacket!”
“Make mine with fire trucks!”
“Can I get one with burgers?”
“Ooh, I love pizza. Can I get one like that?”

As the costume designer excitedly finished each jacket, she passed her creation on to the child, who put on their new outerwear with giggles and delight, thus breaking the curse and allowing everyone in the kingdom to live happily ever after.

In addition to making clothing I love coming up with activities to entertain my friend's children. I haven't had any children of my own yet so I am the one who occupies my friend's kids when they need to put themselves in time out and get a break.